The company that’s built several of the Phoenix area’s large-scale auto parks is getting ready to bring the concept to Pinal County by transforming a former Sam’s Club building into Arizona’s largest indoor showroom.
Mullin360 has purchased the 17-acre property at the southeast corner of Interstate 10 and Florence Boulevard in Casa Grande plus 9 more acres and would like to be open for business by early 2022, Executive Vice President Cecil Yates said.
Casa Grande AutoShow already has secured eight top automaker brands: Ford, Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram, Chevrolet, Buick, and GMC, drawing local dealers with a presence on Pinal Avenue, the city’s longtime auto row. The complex has room for two more, Yates said.
“I can’t name that now, because I have nothing in writing, but it’s exciting, the folks that we’re talking to,” he said.
All the dealers will be able to have full-service departments on site and are expected to add jobs as they move to the larger digs. Yates did not have an estimated number of new jobs.
Mullin360’s previous projects include the Scottsdale AutoShow, Tempe Autoplex, 303 AutoShow in Surprise, and Penske North Scottsdale 101 Auto Collection. Yates said the dealerships will ultimately own their property in the Casa Grande location, as they do in the others.
“Our founder of the company, Jim Mullen, has always liked the Casa Grande market and has been watching that for a while,” Yates said. “And in the development world, we kind of say land or projects come to us because the market kind of dictates that. And an opportunity came up where that Sam’s Club decided to close their doors.”
That happened in January 2018, and Mullin360 purchased the land in April 2021. Yates said the project has cleared the City of Casa Grande zoning process and is now obtaining site plan approvals and building permits. It will include new buildings and updated landscaping, but the vacant building and highway pylon sign will be repurposed.
Having served as a city councilman and zoning commissioner in his Midwest hometown, Yates said, “I can’t stress enough how exciting it is when you get a project like this, that you can buy a big, old building and refurbish it. There’s nothing better that a city loves.”
Although auto buyers are doing a lot of online research these days, Yates said the actual shopping and purchasing process is expected to stay with physical dealerships for the most part.